Dusty Around the Eyes

Names change colors when you are dusty around the eyes. Watch a gerenuk at sunset while listening to a Walkman. These two odd sentences are mnemonics I constructed to remind myself of chains of thought that occurred to me while learning to do anthropological fieldwork in East Africa. Searching the forests of the Semliki Valley… Continue reading Dusty Around the Eyes

First Dose Problems, or The Privilege of a Sore Arm

The needle stabs and the guilt stings. My country, the USA, has spread the virus and hoarded the vaccine. I’ve commiserated with my international friends who remain at risk, but didn’t delay my first dose. Soon I’ll travel safe while they’re still locked down. Cheap flights beckon. My guilt fades. © Copyright 2021 by Jim… Continue reading First Dose Problems, or The Privilege of a Sore Arm

Dekel’s Eyelashes

Our waiter’s name was Dekel. He had the most amazing eyelashes I’ve ever seen and was friends with the lady I was traveling with. While they caught up I ate a small piece of perfection in the form of a chocolate croissant. The morning sunlight reflecting off the creamy Jerusalem limestone was warm like the… Continue reading Dekel’s Eyelashes

Bus Stations on the Equator

Restaurants near the city’s bus station were my favorite places to eat in Ecuador.  Beans, rice, meat—usually chicken—an egg, a small juice. A checked tablecloth, a small TV on a high shelf, a soccer game.  All that for a buck, buck and a half. Plus: a shy waitress surprised a gringo spoke Spanish and impromptu… Continue reading Bus Stations on the Equator

My Friend Bror

Bror moved from his native New Zealand to Bermuda wearing a three-piece suit and carrying only his bank cards.  Bror teaches people to pronounce his name by saying, “It’s the letter B followed by a lion’s roar. Let’s practice it together: Bror.”  Then he tells them bror means brother in Dutch, which I’ve not fact-checked. He… Continue reading My Friend Bror

Not Quite Canadian

I couldn’t figure it out. Was there something on my face? Was my fly open? I hadn’t made it halfway across campus from the bus stop and three friends had already stopped me to ask how I was doing.  I was fine, as far as I knew.  But I was starting to wonder. It was… Continue reading Not Quite Canadian

The Bus Driver

From my perch next to the window, I look down on the bus driver — a small, tidy white man with a bald spot and a collared shirt. Cradling a complicated novel on my lap, I tell myself that his small head surely houses small thoughts. The bus driver’s eyes roam the rearview mirror.  He sees me… Continue reading The Bus Driver